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Babylon 5/Star Trek and Serious Sci-Fi about the Shape of Things to Come
Posted: 17 January 2012 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 406 ]
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I grew to like it, but at first I did not.  I never did learn to like Enterprise.  It never did seem like Trek to me and neither did the latest movie either.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 18 January 2012 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 407 ]
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I think there is little doubt the The Next Generation was the most truly “Roddenberry Trek” there was.

But I also think that the very first pilot “The Cage” demonstrated that the Original Star Trek was not as much what he truly wanted to make.  He wanted more than a wagon train to the stars but he had to settle for what the studios would let him have and then try to cheat a little.

The last movie was mostly what I expected from the trailers.  Not even as good as the last Enterprise series.

But I started reading science fiction before the original Trek.  As soon as I saw it I was thinking The Lone Ranger with an alien Tonto in outer space.

This was my first sci-fi book.

Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse
http://www.amazon.com/Star-Surgeon-Alan-Nourse/dp/1598180657
http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=1299

  Adolescent Ignition Feb 28, 2002
I read this book originally as an adolescent, and later began to understand that this was really a book about racism and its evils. Its theme got me thinking early in life about what happens when a person is disenfranchised solely because of the way they look. The book is well written and it got me seriously interested in the whole realm of speculative/science fiction, which remains to this day, nearly 40 years later. I sure would like to see “Star Surgeon” by Alan E. Nourse reprinted so I could have a copy for my permanent library!

http://www.promiseangels.com/alan-e-nourse/star-surgeon/SKU/2365979

psik[35,598]

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Posted: 09 March 2012 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 408 ]
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It looks like views have dropped below 500 per month but passed 36,000 views anyway.

Time to celebrate with a few blasts from the past.

The Brain (1948) by Alexander Blade
http://www.feedbooks.com/book/4800

When H.A.R.L.I.E. was One (1972) by David Gerrold
http://vx.netlux.org/lib/mdg00.html

Shockwave Rider (1975) by John Brunner
http://vxheavens.com/lib/mjb01.html

The Adolescence of P-1 (1977) by Thomas Ryan
http://vxheavens.com/lib/mtr00.html

The Two Faces of Tomorrow (1979) by James P. Hogan
http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/0671878484/0671878484.htm

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Posted: 28 March 2012 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 409 ]
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That VXHeaven website says it was raided by the authorities on March 23.  They are down.

http://vx.netlux.org/index.html

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psik

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Posted: 12 May 2012 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 410 ]
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I would like to suggest a characteristic to be evaluated in science fiction works. One of the troubles these days is people use that term and I really have no idea what they are talking about sometimes. So I will suggest 3 stories as archetypes to demonstrate rather than only explain the characteristic with words. These stories are all in the public domain so everyone can get them easily and they are also available as audiobooks.

#1. Cat and Mouse by Ralph Williams
http://www.feedbooks.com/book/2584/cat-and-mouse
http://www.archive.org/download/short_scifi_006_0811_librivox/catandmouse_williams_blb_64kb.mp3

#2. The Servant Problem by Robert F. Young
http://www.feedbooks.com/book/2388/the-servant-problem
http://www.archive.org/download/short_scifi_028_0910_librivox/servantproblem_young_64kb.mp3

#3. All Day September by Roger Kuykendal
http://www.feedbooks.com/book/2295/all-day-september
http://www.archive.org/download/short_scifi_016_0905_librivox/alldayseptember_kuykendall_bt_64kb.mp3

#1 was nominated for a Hugo but lost to Flowers for Algernon so it should not be bad but it says nothing whatsoever about the “science” or “technology” enabling the story.  An alien just makes things happen.  #2 is unusually similar to #1 in that the technology driving the story perfoms the same function but the writer offers a kind of explanation mentioning mobius loops and has a little astronomy. #3 is strictly hard SF and contains nothing likely to be impossible at some time in the not too distant future. It is in fact curious in that it is a Moon colony story 10 years before the first Moon landing in 1969 and a prospector finds water on the Moon which was actually found in October of 2009. The story also has a little chemistry. It brings to mind Arthur C. Clarke’s A Fall of Moondust.

I think #1 and #2 are both better written than #3 and #2 somewhat better than #1 in that respect, but that is not the characteristic I am referring to for this evaluation. This is just about how they treat the science and or engineering empowering the story.

I would put Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold at 2.5 between #2 and #3. She explains some of her fictional science while most reviews of that story do not point this out.  And she discusses a little real classical physics. 

Quality of the writing and characterization and world building should all be treated as separate issues from the implementation of the science but most science fiction reviews don’t do that and may even ignore the science. They try to treat SF as just another form of literature.

So let’s say All Day September is type A, The Servant Problem is type C and Cat and Mouse is type E.  If Komarr is between between A and C then it is obviously type B.  Maybe Uplift War by David Brin is type D.  It has a lot of jargon like probability waves and level of hyperspace but doesn’t explain anything.

update
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewreply/175588/

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Posted: 13 June 2012 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 411 ]
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Not only is science fiction an idea of tremendous import, but it is to be an important factor in making the world a better place to live in, through educating the public to the possibilities of science and the influence of science on life which, even today, are not appreciated by the man on the street. ... If every man, woman, boy and girl, could be induced to read science fiction right along, there would certainly be a great resulting benefit to the community, in that the educational standards of its people would be raised tremendously. Science fiction would make people happier, give them a broader understanding of the world, make them more tolerant.

— Hugo Gernsback
Editorial, Science Fiction Week (1930). In Gary Westfahl, Hugo Gernsback and the Century of Science Fiction (2007), 166.


Hugo Gernsback and the Invention of the Science Fiction Megatext
http://www.republibot.com/content/hugo-gernsback-and-invention-science-fiction-megatext

Robert Bee’s picture
Thu, 01/13/2011 - 01:00 — Robert Bee

Hugo Gernsback is simultaneously one of the most revered and despised figures in the history of science fiction. He has been called “the father of science fiction” and the Hugos, the genre’s most prestigious awards, are named after him. He was the guest of honor at the 1952 Worldcon. Gernsback’s achievements include founding the first SF magazine, Amazing Stories, naming the genre “scientifiction” (missing the eventual term by a syllable), starting the first reader letter columns, and organizing the first fan organization, the Science Fiction League, which encouraged the spread of fandom and eventually led to fanzines and webzines like Republibot.

Gernsback wanted scientifiction to be a forward thinking genre that educated the public in the tremendous future promised by science and technology. For Gernsback, SF contained a message that taught us that science and technology could create a glorious future and allow problem-solving humans to ameliorate the ills of existence. In the first issue of Amazing Stories, Gernsback defined scientifiction as “a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision.” Gernsback wanted writers to pad their stories with extensive scientific fact to educate as well entertain their readers. Gernsback believed SF would become the most important genre of modern literature because it was best able to predict and understand scientific and technological change.

Bradbury read stuff published by Gernsback.

True, science fiction is neither predictive nor didactic. It has not been since the 1920s, but I sometimes wonder if it needs to be once again. Back then, it was a marketing gimmick, a way of selling the newly-formed genre to readers of electronics and popular science magazines. Now, the genre has grown far too sophisticated for the simplistic agendas of Gernsback and his contemporaries. As a literary mode of fiction, it has evolved a vast repertoire of tropes, an extensive toolkit, and a lexicon that is in many ways peculiar to it. And along with this increase in sophistication has come a shift in viewpoint from the immediate to the abstract.

http://iansales.com/2011/01/25/a-literature-of-ideas/

SF today is read by a lot of dummies who regard themselves as sophisticated.  Neuromancer is good science fiction?  Please!  But you run across it mentioned all of the time.

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Posted: 05 July 2012 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 412 ]
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psikeyhackr - 13 June 2012 08:05 AM

SF today is read by a lot of dummies who regard themselves as sophisticated.  Neuromancer is good science fiction?  Please!  But you run across it mentioned all of the time.

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psik

Neuromancer’s not too bad.  At the very least it’s a classic.  But I’m not really much of a cyberpunk fan myself.  I prefer steampunk.

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“In the end nature is horrific and teaches us nothing.” -Mutual of Omicron

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Posted: 06 July 2012 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 413 ]
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Dead Monky - 05 July 2012 07:43 AM
psikeyhackr - 13 June 2012 08:05 AM

SF today is read by a lot of dummies who regard themselves as sophisticated.  Neuromancer is good science fiction?  Please!  But you run across it mentioned all of the time.

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psik

Neuromancer’s not too bad.  At the very least it’s a classic.  But I’m not really much of a cyberpunk fan myself.  I prefer steampunk.

Actually I should not have been quite that negative, I must have been in a bad mood.

I do confess a lot of people who say they like sci-fi get on my nerves.  Science fiction with no science or even BAD science.  Maybe we should call it sci-trope fiction.

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Posted: 09 July 2012 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 414 ]
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psikeyhackr - 06 July 2012 02:15 PM

Actually I should not have been quite that negative, I must have been in a bad mood.

I do confess a lot of people who say they like sci-fi get on my nerves.  Science fiction with no science or even BAD science.  Maybe we should call it sci-trope fiction.

psik

See, most of the sci-fi I like could be considered “sci-trope fiction”.  Mainly because I like the comedic stuff that doesn’t take itself seriously and just plays with the genre.  Like Dr Who, Lexx, and Futurama.  Oddly though, I also like hard sci-fi, really hard sci-fi.  *shrugs*  I’m odd.

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Posted: 22 July 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 415 ]
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Here is some free sci-fi that is less than half bad.

Mars Girl by Jeff Garrity

http://www.marsgirl.us/

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Posted: 22 September 2012 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 416 ]
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Sci-Fi Religion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNLM1BUS93U

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Posted: 11 November 2012 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 417 ]
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The Status Civilization (1960) by Robert Sheckley

http://librivox.org/the-status-civilization-by-robert-sheckley/

Here is an oldie regarded as satire that maybe really says a lot.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 418 ]
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I liked Enterprise better than DS9. Where is the fifth season??

And what about the Stargate Universe cliffhanger? What happened next? I need to know.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 419 ]
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dansmith62 - 26 November 2012 09:45 AM

I liked Enterprise better than DS9. Where is the fifth season??

And what about the Stargate Universe cliffhanger? What happened next? I need to know.

Yeah I really enjoyed the Stargate Universe TV series, but it just sort of ended with no real plot resolution.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 420 ]
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dansmith62 - 26 November 2012 09:45 AM

And what about the Stargate Universe cliffhanger? What happened next? I need to know.

Stargate Universe was too depressing for me.  Stargate Atlantis was great. 

I stopped watching SG-1 in the 2nd season.

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